Julian Assange 160 diplomats release, World leaders urge UK not extradite Assange to US.
More than 160 current and former world leaders, lawmakers and diplomats have endorsed a call for the U.K. to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and stop his extradition to the U.S.
The signatories of the open letter, addressed to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and several government ministers, included the president of Argentina and two former presidents of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Assange, 49, is currently fighting extradition to the U.S. where he faces up to 175 years in prison on espionage charges over WikiLeaks’ release of confidential diplomatic cables in 2010 and 2011. The letter was first written by the group Lawyers for Assange in August, and then received the support of the international signatories whose names were released on Monday.
It laid out several legal reasons why Assange shouldn’t be extradited, including the claim that he wouldn’t face a fair trial in the U.S., and that he would “be exposed to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
His extradition “would gravely endanger freedom of the press,” the letter said.
“This demonstrates the growing opposition around the world to U.S. efforts to extradite and prosecute Assange, and the political nature of this case,” Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, told NBC News.
Many of the letter’s signatories, which also include Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro and former Ecuadoran leader Rafael Correa, are fierce critics of the U.S. and have previously spoken out against American foreign policy.